Adam had arrayed the tea set around the table in the dining cavern. It stood out from all the other caverns by the fact that it had a kitchen area and a table with chairs.
The table was big, Adam had wondered why Constantine had made him such a large table, once, but now he was glad for it. Before Constantine had come, Adam didn't have a table or a dining cavern. He survived off mushrooms and drank the water from the mineral pool. He, just like he still did on occasion, slept inside there, too.
"Naga," began the man in brown leathers, and Adam sighed.
"The name is Adam, not Naga," corrected Adam, and the man cleared his throat.
"Adam. By decree of the king, the prince here," the man pointed at the brown-haired disinterested youth next to him. "Must marry the most beautiful being in the kingdom. That would be you."
Adam pointed at himself and blinked. Then, he burst out laughing.
"That is the silliest thing I have ever heard. I refuse to marry the prince," duke Neron frowned and pulled out the rolled-up parchment, only for it to be snatched by Constantine. The necromancer read it and scoffed.
"It says here that the candidates have the right to refuse," he made an underlining motion with his finger, and the duke looked at that particular sentence with distaste.
"If the prince doesn't marry soon, his life will be in danger," because Prince Charles, the king's firstborn, would not suffer his brother being in the line of succession for much longer.
"My brother won't do anything to me if I enter the priesthood," retorted Samuel with a shrug. "Personally, I find this whole situation ridiculous."
Duke Neron turned to look at Adam with a pleading look.
“By marrying you, he will guarantee that he would never have children,” Constantine snorted next to Adam.
"What? Are we to believe that the prince won't have any tumbles with kitchen maids?" The tone of the necromancer earned him a glare from the duke.
"He will enter a marriage vow," said the healer from behind the duke, and the prince glared at him.
"And what is the difference between the chastity vow of the priests and the marriage vow of loyalty?" The prince took his cup and then took a small sip. He was glad that the Naga refused him. He had some sense not to get mixed in this mess, at least.
"Prince Samuel, surely, you deserve to be happy?" Snapped the duke. Duke Neron had all but raised the second prince. He didn't want to see him with a shaved head and preaching in the streets.
"With someone I don't know?" Snapped back the prince.
"I think I can help," said Adam. He pulled up his menu and got some papers to appear. "If you become a dungeon mob. The boss mob, in fact. You will be made to stay here in the dungeon, and you won't be a part of any lines of successions."
Samuel considered the preposition. Sure, it meant living with the necromancer next door, but he was sure that the Naga would leave him to read in peace and quiet.
"Deal," prince Samuel took the papers and then rummaged in his pockets for a pen.
"But, that was not what your father wants," stammered the duke. Samuel chuckled.
"Technically, it is. He would get to say I am with the most beautiful creature in the country, and it wouldn't even be a lie. I just won't be sleeping with Adam, is all," before the duke could talk him out of his decision, Samuel signed all the documents and felt himself being anchored to the caves.
"Can uncle Neron visit sometimes?" Now that Neron would have no reason to drag him around to meet airheads, Samuel felt like he could name him by his favorite title.
"Sure. By the way, how did you find out about me?" Adam's head was tilted to the side and his eyes looked puzzled.
"We saw your paintings," Samuel shrugged. "They were pretty to look at, I guess."
Adam blushed and coughed as Constantine shook his head.
"If I ever get my hands on that elf..." the necromancer let the threat hang in the air.
"So, what is there to do around here and, more importantly, do you have books?" Asked Samuel, his tone hopeful at the last part.
"I have a library, yes. You are free to use it whenever you wish. I don't really need your help. So, ground rules. You can't come into the pool after eight pm. I sometimes sleep there, and I don't like being woken up. Breakfast is at seven am, lunch is at twelve and dinner is at eight pm. Snack times are whenever you wish them to be. But, I won't be cooking for you outside the meal times," Samuel nodded. This was more than he expected, honestly.
"I can cook for myself, and I am an early riser, so, maybe I will beat you to making breakfast most days," said Samuel.
"My prince, you are not a servant," interjected the duke sternly.
"Not a prince anymore. A boss mob," replied Samuel with a smirk. "And, honestly, most of the protection of this place is done by this man here."
Samuel pointed at Constantine, who placed his head on his hands.
"And by an SSS class adventurer named Nathaniel," said Constantine. "I will have to inform him of this development."
"Nathaniel the Axe Saint?" Asked the shield wielder of the party, awe struck. "Can we stay for when he comes in here? A spar with him would be something to tell my grandchildren about."
"Arnold, he would probably wipe the floor with all of us," said the healer. But Arnold was already in dreamland, fantasizing about how he could land a hit on the most active adventurer that appeared this century.
"I don't see why you can't meet him," Constantine said, suddenly amused. If Nathaniel's crush still lingered, he would rip this party a new one for daring to come in here and demand Adam marry their bookworm of a prince. "In fact, I will summon him now."
Constantine used the dungeon protector ring that Nathaniel had given him when he had come back with all his gifts and waited. He was not disappointed because, moments later, a panicked Nathaniel appeared in the dining cavern, hand gripping his axe.